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Yoga Vasistha in Poem

Chapter V: Dealing with Dissolution

Photo-composite with an exerpt from: Death of the Mind

12. Death of the Mind

Two Types of Mind Death

There are two types of death of the mind
When the mind's form remains and ceases to be
While living when the mind's form still remains
On disembodiment even the mind's form perishes
Existence of the mind causes great misery
Its cessation brings great joy and delight
The mind that is caught in its conditioning
Brings repeated births and unhappiness
That which regards beginningless qualities its own
Is without self-knowledge—the unhappy individual
When the mind perishes, world-appearance does too
The mind is indeed the seed for all misery
When both happiness and unhappiness
Do not divert one from his equanimity
All notions having ceased—his mind is dead
He is liberated while still living
The very nature of the mind is stupidity
When the mind dies—purity and virtue reign
Some call mind's death—the pure or big mind
This state of utter purity of a liberated sage
Natural goodness exists in the liberated sage
Noble qualities abound in him naturally
This is also known as purity or sattva
Also called death of mind with form
Death of the mind without form
Pertains to the disembodied sage
Not even a trace of the mind remains
It cannot be described in a positive way
Neither light nor darkness, no conditioning
Neither existence nor non-existence, no notions
A state of supreme quiescence and equilibrium
Beyond mind and intelligence—supreme peace
The seed of world-appearance is within
All notions and concepts of good and evil
This seed of notions and concepts is the mind
Which constantly moves and brings sorrow
The mind is the repository of notions of being
World-appearance arises in the mind only
The dream-state illustrates this clearly
Whatever is seen is mind's expansion only

Two Seeds & Two Ways

The two seeds are there of the mind
Notions and ideas carry on with these
Movement of life-force or prana
And obstinately clinging to a fancy
When prana moves in consciousness
Mind arises—world-appearance is seen
When pranic movement is made to be still
The world-appearance subsides as well
Pranic movement agitates consciousness
It apprehends ideas and objects as real
Great sorrow is experienced in this confusion
Sleep puts this to rest—is why we enjoy sleep
In sleep we experience the dead mind
But are not conscious and return the same
So one of the two seeds of mind's mischief
Must be the way to put the mind to rest
First is restraint of life-force or prana
Practiced by yogis as pranayama
Meditation and other practices too
But pranayama brings quiescence best
Second is practices in the wisdom path
Tackling obstinate clinging and fancies directly
This is what disallows inquiry of truth
And is described as conditioning or limitation
When such fancies are indulged in repeatedly
World-appearance arises in consciousness
When conditioning is thinned to transparency
One becomes a liberated sage while still living
Past momentum sustains the sage’s life
He will never incur rebirth again
The seed has been fried beyond germination
He'll be absorbed in the infinite when the body falls

Adopt One Way

Adopt one way—one seed of the two
Arresting prana or quelling obstinate fancy
When one is dried up the other dries too
Both are completely interdependent
Pranic movement is due to obstinacy
Obstinacy causes the prana to move
A vicious cycle is thus completed
Feeding on each other—forcing action
Motion is natural to life-force or prana
When it moves in consciousness—mind arises
Conditioning quickly takes over prana's movement
If one is arrested—both will surely fall
The notion of an object is the seed for both
Be it object of knowledge or that of experience
Instantly prana moves and obstinacy rises
A tempest for experience is felt in the heart
When such desire for experience is abandoned
Movement of prana and obstinacy instantly cease
But indwelling consciousness is desire's seed
Neither desire nor experience are otherwise possible
Consciousness has no object outside or inside
As consciousness alone exists—naught else
This truth has to be realized by direct experience
For the illusion, suffering and bondage to cease
Strive to eradicate desire for experience
Get rid of idleness and lethargy
Free yourself from all experiences
Rest contented as infinite consciousness

Both Reconciled

One without desire or hopes for anything
Does not exist as an individual jiva
He is neither inactive or lethargic
Nor does he seek to experience
Though engaged in ceaseless activity
He does not act nor is he inactive
Though he seems to experience all
He does not experience anything
Objectivity has been removed from his heart
He is a liberated sage—here and now
So objective experiences do not touch him
He continues to act though inactive

Destroying the Seeds of Sorrow

If you can cut at one stroke all conditioning
You will by that great effort be free instantly
Resting in pure existence that very moment
In time you will be well established in it
This of course requires gigantic will
Like crossing the ocean in a single breath
There are other incremental ways
To get a foothold and gradually cross
The incremental way takes greater effort
As ground is lost with each little gain
Old impressions tighten their hold
With each time you get involved in them
Still, some gain is better than no gain at all
And if you are sincere—momentum will gain
So strive to destroy all conditioning
Consisting of concepts, notions, habits and such
Of this one must be most careful and firm
Or success will elude and there may be fall
You cannot afford to add any conditioning
When traveling the incremental path beyond
The mind has to be made free of all movement
Thought has to cease its wayward activity
Cessation of conditioning is indeed difficult
Truth has to be realized with each careful step
Each step has to be walked as if the final step
Heedlessness is invitation to great disaster
Relentless vigilance is your only guide
The path is seen as you carefully tread
Realization of truth and cessation of mind
And ending of conditioning are interwoven
Truth has to be seen in these simultaneously
It is difficult to deal with these individually
Renounce pursuit of pleasure with all your power
Resort to these three simultaneously
If these are practiced simultaneously for long
They become fruitful—never otherwise
You must be persistent in your practice
Of these three together at the same time
World-appearance has been seen as truth
For a very long time—now overcome it
The wise declare abandonment of conditioning
And restraint of prana to have equal effect
Hence practice both of them simultaneously
Right practice of yoga asanas will aid greatly too
When desires and aversions do not arise
Though objects of desire appear as well
Infer mental conditioning has weakened
Wisdom has started dawning within
You are most vulnerable in these little gains
As it is easy to feel you are free of pull
Never relax vigilance and simple living
Till the mind has completely ceased to be

Killing the Mind

Means to overcome and kill the mind include
Knowledge of self and company of holy men
Abandonment of conditioning and prana restraint
These are the most effective means and the way
Peace can only be had on the mind's demise
From the mind's ashes rises self-knowledge
Other practices do not aim to destroy the mind
Which is the cause of all suffering
All actions must be without attachment
The organs act—one is ever unaffected
Joy, grief and sorrow don't touch one
Whose actions are free—non-volitional
Eyes see, ears hear and body touches
One is not involved in any of these
This is real contact-disassociation
It burns attachment and world-appearance
Contact-association fuels attachment
It results in bondage and endless sorrow
Abandonment of attachment is liberation
The wise abandon attachment and are free
Attachment is that which increases conditioning
By repetition of experiences of pleasure and pain
In relation to what exists or is imagined
To the objects of pleasure in any way
New associations are wired in the mind
Old ones are reinforced and strengthened
This confirmation brings intense attachment
To objects of pleasure—invitations to pain
First free conditioning from experiences
Such as joy, grief, sorrow and such
This greatly weakens existing conditioning
Refused any nourishment thus it is starved
Weaker conditioning is easy to see
And bypass like a stone on the road
Soon conditioning becomes mere memory
The snake's venom sacs have been removed
Fools continue to fatten conditioning
Whatever be the guise and social acceptance
In heedlessness—silence is consent
Bondage is always increased willfully
Conditioning is the seed of perverse notions
Actions that result from it increase bondage
Actions free of conditioning will not bind you
As they are spontaneous—thus non-actions
Rise beyond joy and sorrow—seeing them alike
Unattachment will free you from attraction
Aversion, fear and grief will leave you
When you’re unattached—independent of desires
Carry on your activities right here in the world
Truth does not escape from the inconvenient
It does not require outer cosmetic change
Its pillars rise from inner transformation
Awareness of the homogeneity of truth
Snaps the careless habits of attachment
Self-knowledge rises when you let go
Of pettiness resulting from heedless living
When polarized vision is abandoned
Equal vision is found instantly in its place
Remain established in non-attachment
Live liberated without attraction's pull
The sage lives in inner silence
Without pride, vanity or jealousy
With senses fully under control
Free of craving—beyond temptation
His actions are not based on conditioning
Nor hopes, desires or outcome in any way
He does what needs to be done—letting go
Actions never continue in him psychologically
Whatever is inevitable and appropriate
The sage does joyfully and with delight
But in him delight rises from within
And not from hopes or any results
Thus he lives free from world-appearance
Just as milk stays white even when boiled
He never abandons his wisdom
Even when tested by calamities
Whether he be subjected to pain or ridicule
Whether accolades are poured on him
Or heaven's rulership be offered to him
The sage remains in a balanced state of mind

End of Chapter V: Dealing with Dissolution


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